On one side Indians are celebrating the success of the ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’ and on the other side Pakistan reacted inadvertently on it. On February 26, India carried out a air strike on Pakistan. Indian Air Force (IAF) bombarded the training camps of Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group in the Balakot area of Pakhtunkhwa province situated around 50 kilometres away from the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan territory at around 3.30am. According to the reports, the operation lasted for about 21 mins and there were more than 200 casualties at the bombed spots.
The air strike was followed by celebrations in various parts of India. In Gaya district of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya, diyas (earthen lamps) were lit in the honour of IAF and people chanted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” slogans. Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) distributed sweets and threw gulaal (coloured powder) on each other out of joy. In Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, locals were seen bursting crackers and dancing. In Tripura’s Agartala and Rajasthan’s Jaipur also, people burst crackers and distributed sweets.
Citizens all over the country are praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his audacious leadership which resulted in this air strike success. In places like Ahemdabad, Mumbai, Balakot, Jammu, Patna, Jabalpur, Delhi, Bhopal, etc. people took to the streets and raised slogans, waved tricolor flags, ate sweets, burst crackers, danced and celebrated the victory if the IAF. Slogans like “Hum se jo takraeega, mitti me mil jaega”, “Humanity wins terror”, “Big Salute to IAF”, “Indian Air Force ke pilaton ko dil se salaam” were being raised by people all over the country. Social media was also filled with greetings and praises for IAF and PM Modi. Messages like “Bharatiya Sena Zindabad”, “Indian Air Force Zindabad” are spreading on social media. Memes are circulating on social media some of which are praising PM Modi and some are making fun of Pakistan.
However, services at nine airports which include Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali and Pithoragarh are temporarily shut from February 27 to May 27, 2019 due to increasing tensions between India and Pakistan.
On one side where Indians are celebrating, Pakistan also reacted on the strike. Pakistan has referred the surgical strike as Line of Control (LoC) violation by Indian military aircraft. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, rejected the claim that India has targeted the training camps of JeM and also rejected the claim of heavy casualties. Pakistan claimed that India has carried out this strike for Domestic political gains ahead of elections.
Moreover, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) responded by targeting Indian Military Installations on February 27, Wednesday, but was unsuccessful. One Pakistan Air Force jet was shot down by a MiG-21 Bison in an aerial engagement, but India lost a MiG 21, the ministry of external affairs said in a media brief. “The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. Pakistan, however, claimed to have shot down two Indian jets and arrested two pilots.
However, Pakistan later admitted that only one pilot had been arrested. “There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is being treated as per norms of military ethics,” Pakistan military spokesperson, Asif Ghafoor, tweeted in the late evening.
Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan, Major General Asif Ghafoor, while addressing a Press Conference said, “Pakistan wants peace and India needs to understand war is a failure of policy.”
Amidst celebrations of India and reactions of Pakistan, few netizens from both the countries are promoting #SayNotoWar campaign on twitter.
(With inputs from News Agency)